|Full Name||René Meulensteen|
|Date of Birth||25 Mar 1964|
|Place of Birth||Beugen, North Brabant, Netherlands|
|Other clubs|| NEC Nijmegen (youth) (1990-1993)|
Qatar (youth) (1993-1999)
Man Utd (Skills Development Coach) (2000-2005) & (2007-2008)
Man Utd Reserves (2005-2006)
Man Utd (First team Coach) (2008-2013)
Anzhi Makhachkala (Assistant Manager) (2013)
Anzhi Makhachkala (2013)
René Meulensteen was formerly the Head Coach of Fulham, having joined in November 2013. He took charge of the first team following the sacking of Martin Jol though was relieved of those duties on 14 February 2014, when Felix Magath was appointed first team manager with immediate effect.
René was born in Beugen, in the North Brabant area of the Netherlands.
As a player, René did not achieve much in a professional sense and played most of his football in the Dutch lower leagues. He played for amateurs VIOS '38 in his hometown and then for RKVV Perseverance, also in the North Brabant area. He then moved to a club called De Treffers, who played in a town near Nijmegan. It was here that he was spotted and signed for NEC Nijmegan in 1990 when he was 26, though he struggled to play for the first team and spent much of the time in their reserves. It was whilst playing at NEC that he showed an interest in a coaching career and at the young age of 27, he was appointed as the coach for their youth team; a position he held for two years whilst he was still playing in their reserve team.
He was a huge fan of former Dutch manager Wiel Coerver and his Coerver Method - his ideas and philosophies of coaching techniques caused René to embrace the idea of becoming a successful coach. He had originally learned about Coerver and his ideas through reading a book of his ( 'Football, the Curriculum for the Perfect Footballer' ) when he was 21. Whilst at NEC in 1993, René sent Wiel Coerver, who was working for the Qatar FA at the time, a videotape outlining a new programme using Coerver’s own methods of how to coach footballers. He did this with the hope of creating a link with his coaching idol so as to open doors for him into a professional career in coaching as he knew he would struggle with no strong professional experience to speak of. Coerver, perhaps appreciating his audacity, as well as confidence and an eye for detail, offered René a job as coach of Qatar's national U16 squad.
He managed Qatar's Under-16 and Under-17 squads over the course of around six years, continuing to work with assistant Wim Suurbier and mentor Wiel Coerver. His chance came to manage a top professional club in Qatar, Al-Ittihad (now known as Al-Gharafa) in 1999 and he assumed the role as manager. He spent a single season there, winning the Crown Prince Cup, before moving on to rivals Al-Sadd in 2000. René won silverware again in his first and only season with them, this time the Emir of Qatar Cup (the Qatari equivalent to the FA Cup).
In 2001, he travelled to England to get his UEFA coaching badges and it was during this time that he came into contact with Dave Richardson, the Director of Youth at the Premier League who was charmed by his vision of football training. Shortly after, Richardson contacted René with an opportunity to work at Manchester United (the club he supported as a child) to showcase his ideas in a week's internship. Sir Alex Ferguson and Man Utd's Head of Academy Les Kershaw quickly hired René in Autumn 2000 as Skills Development Coach, overseeing all of those at the club from age 9 to 21. He overhauled the club's approach to coaching children in their Academy and changed their coaching syllabus, concentrating on the technical area of the game. In 2005, he gained his UEFA Pro Licence, meaning he could become head coach of any European club.
In December 2005, Sir Alex chose René as the man to fill the vacant role of Reserves Manager. His impact was immediately evident, with Man Utd Reserves putting together some stunning football en route to a treble FA Premier Reserve League Shield, the Premier Reserve League North and the Manchester Senior Cup. His success earned plaudits throughout the club, and also alerted a number of external parties to his management potential.
It was no surprise when Danish club Brøndby came knocking, and René followed his ambition to become their manager for the 2006-07 season, signing a three-year contract. His stay in Copenhagen was brief, and he resigned after only 6 months in charge in January 2007. The club cited that his resignation was down to personal reasons involving his family, to which infuriated René as he claimed was not true. Soon after, he spoke with Danish newspaper AD in a revealing interview in which he said he had found Brøndby an amateurish organization with a dysfunctional group of players and with a complete lack of team spirit. He claimed that he never had the backing of Chairman Per Bjerregaard when it came to buying players, and mentions a case where he was interested in bringing Danish international Thomas Helveg to the club which Bjerregaard ignored and bought in a different player without René's knowledge. Gilse Thorsen, who covered the club for Danish sports paper Ekstra Bladet for over a decade, said: “Bjerregaard wanted a say in every decision that Meulensteen made. Whether it was signing players, or contracts, or training or picking the team – everything. It was a nightmare for him.”
After he left Brøndby, Sir Alex welcomed him back to Manchester United where he worked as Technical Skills Development Officer. He became increasingly involved with the senior squad, to the point where he became first team coach at the start of 2008-09 after Mike Phelan was promoted to Assistant Manager following Carlos Queiroz' departure. During his time as first team coach, René helped Sir Alex Ferguson secure the Premier League title in 2008–09, 2010–11 and 2012–13; the Community Shield in 2008, 2010, 2011, the League Cup in 2008–09 and 2009–10; the Champions League in 2007–08 and the Club World Cup in 2008. At the end of 2012-13, Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager and David Moyes was hired, where he brought in his own coaching staff but offered René to stay on at the club as Head of Youth. René turned down this offer and left the club in June 2013, and speculation arose concerning him to become the next manager for Wigan Athletic or Twente.
Shortly after his departure from Man Utd, he was hired as Assistant Manager to fellow Dutchman Guus Hiddink at Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala. Just two matches into the season, Hiddink resigned as manager and the job was given to René. However, he was sacked just 16 days in as Chairman Konstantin Remchukov decided he wanted clubman Gadzhi Gadzhiyev to be in charge for the foreseeable future. Speculation grew on a possible move to Fulham around this time, though it seemed he had made his mind up on a return back to Qatar.
Meulensteen was initially brought in as Head Coach on 13th November 2013, working alongside Martin Jol as an assistant. A month previously, it had transpired that Fulham were attempting to get Meulensteen to join the staff at Motspur Park but that he had rejected them for a move to Qatar, where he had previously spent many years coaching. However, the move was made and only a fortnight later, Martin Jol was sacked after a run of six back-to-back defeats. New chairman Shahid Khan gave Meulensteen the reigns to take charge of Fulham for the foreseeable future, though he retained his title of Head Coach.
The change in the style of play of Fulham was noticeably different, and more surprising was almost instantaneous. Despite a defeat in his first match in charge against Tottenham, he ended the losing streak with a 2-0 win at home to Aston Villa at the start of December 2013.
- Crown Prince Cup: 1999-00
- Emir of Qatar Cup: 2000-01
Manchester United ReservesEdit
- Premier Reserve League Shield: 2005-06
- Premier Reserve League North: 2005-06
- Manchester Senior Cup: 2005-06
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